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Portugal: the country needs to focus on rehabilitation instead of prison

The recommendation was made by members of the UN subcommittee after a 10-day visit to Portugal between 1 and 11 May, during which it visited four cities and discussed the issue with the authorities and civil society.

Members of the group visited prisons and mental health centres in Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto and Sintra and met with the Ombudsman and representatives of the Government and civil society.

According to the information released, the experts also accompanied members of the National Mechanism for Preventing and Combatting Torture on visits to a juvenile detention centre and a prison.

The head of the UN delegation, Nora Sveaass, said it essential that this independent mechanism should have enough resources to ensure “a better structure and protection to prevent torture and ill-treatment.

This issue related to young people will be part of the report that will be delivered to the Portuguese authorities.

The group also called for more rehabilitation programmes and proposed that Portugal find alternatives to detention.

The delegation was made up of specialists Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius), Roberto Michel Fehér Pérez (Uruguay), Kosta Mitrovic (Serbia) and Margarete Osterfeld (Germany).

Portugal ratified the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture in 2013.

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